Annals of the American Association of Geographers Style Sheet

General Style Points

1. Manuscripts should not exceed 11,000 words, including abstract, references, notes, tables, and figure captions.

2. Authors should provide 3-5 key words or phrases by which an article can be indexed in periodical references. These words should appear alphabetized in italics at the end of the abstract.

3. All figures and tables should be mentioned explicitly and in numerical order in the text. The correct format for citing tables and figures is as follows: Table 1, Figure 1. “Table” and “Figure” should have a leading cap. If a figure has several components, “A,” “B,” and “C” (etc.) should be capitalized (e.g., Figure 1A). If a figure or table comes from another source, full citation of that source should be provided in the references section. Authors should obtain any reprint permission necessary from the figure or table’s original author(s) and should provide a copy of that permission with the materials submitted to the AAG.

4. If a paper is accepted for publication, authors should provide professional information and correspondence details for all authors at the end of the references section following this model:

JANE DOE is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Kalamazoo University, Kalamazoo, MI 12345. E-mail: Her research interests include the conditions of homeworkers in the United States and the issue of access to the Internet among teenagers in rural areas.

Note: this information should only be added to the final file; it should not be included in the initial or revised submissions that are sent out for review.

5. All sources cited in the text of a paper must be listed in the references section, and vice versa. Authors will be asked to add textual references to any sources listed in the references section and not cited in the text, and to provide full citation information for any sources cited in the text and not listed in the references. Any sources the authors choose not to cite will be deleted.

6. Serial commas should be used: …the first, second, and fourth candidates (rather than “the first, second and fourth candidates”)

7. Technical/scientific headings—4.1, 4.2, and so on—should not be used.

8. Endnotes should be kept to a minimum. Discursive endnotes are discouraged.

9. Year date ranges should be expressed using whole years, rather than just the last two digits: 1932–1933, rather than 1932–33.

10. Authors should avoid over usage of hyphens; single dashes should not be used to set off material at the end of a sentence (use double dashes: –)

Word Choice, Acronyms, etc.

11. “Percent” should be spelled out in text.

12. In phrases such as “the discipline of geography,” geography should not be capitalized.

13. The phrase “geographic information system(s)” should not be capitalized when it is spelled out. The acronym for this phrase, GIS, should be capitalized. Phrases combining the acronym “GIS” and a word beginning with “s” should be rendered as combined words:

•  GIS science should be GIScience
•  GIS systems should be GISystems
•  GIS scientist should be GIScientist

14. All acronyms—even those authors might expect to be commonly understood—should be spelled out the first time they are used within a paper, with the acronym appearing in parentheses following the spelled-out title or term. For example, “The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is located in …”

15. The phrase “Global Positioning System” should be capitalized when it is spelled out. The acronym for this phrase, GPS, should also be capitalized.

16. At first usage of the date/term, use the following wording: “11 September 2001 (hereinafter “9/11”).” For example, “Since 11 September 2001 (hereinafter “9/11”), many geographers have….” Subsequent instances of the date/term should appear as “9/11” only. For example, “As a result, the events of 9/11 have taught us…”

17. Alternative nomenclature should be used consistently within a paper according to the author’s demonstrated preferences. Examples may include:

•  Third World/developing world/two-thirds world
•  Indigenous/American Indian/Native American/First Nations
•  Black/African American
•  Hispanic/Latino/Latinx

18. Authors should avoid using passive verb forms wherever possible.

19. All references to the Annals of the American Association of Geographers should be written in full.

20. Words in a language other than English should be italicized only when they cannot be found in a standard English-language dictionary. Non-English words that are specific to a particular paper’s subject should be italicized and briefly defined when they are first used. Thereafter, they do not need to be italicized. The exception is scientific names of species (e.g., Canis familiaris), the convention for which is to retain italicization for all uses.

21. Single nouns ending in unvoiced “s” should be made possessive by the addition of an apostrophe and another “s.” For example, “the dress’s color was red” (rather than “the dress’ color was red”)

22. When used as an adjective, United States should be abbreviated U.S., with periods (e.g., “U.S. immigration laws”). When used as a noun, United States should be spelled out (e.g., “Washington, DC, is the capitol of the United States”). When used as an adjective, United Kingdom should be abbreviated UK, without periods. When used as a noun, it should be spelled out. When used as an adjective, European Union should be abbreviated EU, without periods. When used as a noun, it should be spelled out. Other countries should always be spelled out in full.

23. Individual states should be spelled out in the text of a paper: Maryland, Virginia. However, in the references section they should follow the standard postal two-letter all-caps abbreviations, with no periods: MD, VA. (The District of Columbia should be abbreviated as follows: Washington, DC.) Canadian provinces should be treated in the same way. A distinction should be drawn (or retained) between Cambridge, MA and Cambridge, UK.

24. Dates should be expressed in British fashion: 25 November 2000 (rather than November 25, 2000).

Numerals, Variables, etc.

25. All whole numbers from one to one hundred should be spelled out unless they are paired with a mathematical symbol (e.g., 2 + 2 = 4), abbreviation (e.g., 25 km, 16 cm), “percent” (e.g., 25 percent), or “score” (e.g., score of 57).

26. Decimals appearing in tables and text should include leading zeros. For example, 0.1273 (rather than .1273)

27. In mathematics, numbers and parentheses should be set roman.

28. If the character “<” (or “>”) is used as a verb (i.e., “is less than”), there should be a space on either side of it: “n < 6.” If it’s used as an adjective (i.e., “less than”), there should be no space on either side. For example, “measured <6 inches.”

29. Common statistical variables (e.g., n, f, R, p) should be set in italics.


30. Quotation marks should be double. The exception to this is if material is quoted within a quote, in which case single quotes are used for the embedded quote: ‘ ’.

Periods and commas should appear inside quotation marks. All other punctuation should appear outside quotation marks, unless the quotation marks delineate a direct quote and the placement of the punctuation would alter the meaning of the quote.

“Scare quotes” (quotation marks used to set off a word that is not a direct quote) should be kept to a minimum and used only for emphasis. Unless the author feels it necessary to retain scare quotes on a particular term or terms throughout the paper, that term should be introduced in scare quotes and appear thereafter without them.

31. Direct quotes from secondary sources that are 60 words or more in length should be set as extracts/block quotes (i.e., separated from surrounding text by one line at beginning and one line at end, and indented 0.5 inches on either side). Shorter quotes should be integrated into the text.

Excerpts from interviews comprise the exception. Any interview excerpt of more than a single sentence in length should be set as an extract, regardless of length.

32. Software and data packages referred to in the text of a paper must be cited in the references section or acknowledged in an endnote (if unattributable). At a minimum, information should include: the name of software (or dataset), version used, maker or author, city/state/country of location of makers, and DOI (if possible). For example:

Meehan, K., J.R. Jurjevich, N.M.J.W. Chun, and J. Sherrill. 2020. Metropolitan geographic definitions and code for ‘Geographies of urban water access and infrastructural inequality in U.S. cities’. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Research Data Repository. https://doi.10.25422/azu.1256536


Please use this reference guide when preparing your paper.